WITH most of the borough’s schoolchildren being asked to continue their education from home, the Summer Reading Challenge is opening earlier than normal – and the focus being digital.

The challenge, which is organised nationally by The Reading Agency, is aimed at children aged four to 11.

This year’s theme is ‘Silly Squad’. The all-new digital website will be launched officially on Friday, June 5, with a host of fun activities, and runs right through the summer to September.

Although the council’s library buildings will remain closed until further notice, they are s encouraging primary and secondary schoolchildren to continue to access their services freely through their virtual services and e-lending platforms.

Families will be able to find an array of virtual ‘super silly’ curated events which will be hosted online, including games, quizzes and many different downloadable activities, with the intention of entertaining and educating children, who may be feeling self-isolated at this difficult time.

Councillor Mick Warren said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is something I know children really engage with, so I am relieved we are still able to do this virtually.“

Children’s reading levels can drop off a little during the long summer holiday, and of course there is an even greater risk of that being the case this year, with the unavoidably long lay-off there has been from schools.”

Children are encouraged to read anything that makes them feel happy, no matter what the format this year, whether it’s poetry, fiction or non-fiction, a comic or a joke book.

This year’s challenge is all the more important as it will also help to provide a source of vital relief to parents and carers trying to keep younger minds active, especially while they may be struggling themselves.

Go to sillysquad.org.uk on June 5 to engage with the many activities available free to everyone.